That king can do whatever the heck he wants!
Now try to imagine a king who uses his power entirely for the good. He is devoted to and serves the poor, he lifts odious laws and exhibits mercy in places not always known for mercy, especially to the poor. He also wishes to see a church that is meant to bring God’s people together for the common good, for common union, so he builds churches for his people.
That is some kind of king! And one that seems very Jesus-like in his behavior. As he does not simply what pleases, but does what pleases God, by serving God’s people.
If you are wondering who such a monarch might be, look no further than our own gathering space. You might need to look up, maybe you have seen him so many times, he almost becomes invisible. There he is…together let us learn more about our patron, a saint of compassion, goodness, and generosity.
King Saint Edward – our patron saint. Unlike more popular saints such as St. Francis, St. Anthony, St. Therese, St. Jude, and so many others, St. Edward seems little known. This is less so in England, where he is revered as a saint by both Roman Catholics and Anglicans. He is remembered for his great compassion and generosity, always focused on the Body of Christ. He was always giving and he was interested in building churches.
He was not a priest, as some might imagine due to his title “confessor.” This simply means someone who bore great public witness in faith, and St. Edward certainly did that. Add to that, he was not martyred, which would be part of his name if he had been.
On this weekend where we note his feast day of October 13, along with parish ministries of service, and the possibility of a new church, St. Edward should be in our prayers. As our patron, he can help us focus our hearts in prayer for the common good, for common union in Christ. For example, how are we called to ministerial pursuits of service?
Perhaps we want to do something traditional, such as be a lector, a eucharistic minister, or be in the choir. Is it REC prison ministry that calls to us? What about working with Mary’s Corner or Birthright? Prayer shawls? Rosary making? Cooking and serving at the soup kitchens? The essential work of being a catechist, teaching the faith? What about helping with this blog? There are so many things we might do. God calls each of us as he called to Saint Edward. May our patron lead us to the insight and courage to follow through.
Make no mistake however – God needs you, God’s people need you, we need you!
St. Edward the Confessor was also a builder of churches. One of the most famous churches in the world stands in all its glory because of him. That would be the iconic Westminster Abbey in London, England.
In the 1040s King Edward (later St Edward the Confessor) established his royal palace by the banks of the river Thames on land known as Thorney Island. Close by was a small Benedictine monastery founded under the patronage of King Edgar and St Dunstan around 960 A.D. This monastery Edward chose to re-endow and greatly enlarge, building a large stone church in honour of St Peter the Apostle. This church became known as the “west minster” to distinguish it from St Paul’s Cathedral (the east minster) in the City of London.
The present building is of a later design; read more about that here.
A favorite legend about St. Edward the Confessor tells us that one day, on his way to Westminster Abbey, he was approached by a beggar. Having no money to give, King Edward took his sapphire ring and offered it to the stranger. The story holds that the stranger was none other than St. John the Baptist. I snapped this photo when in London this past summer, it was in an Underground station. I know, due to the glare, it is a little hard to read, but here it is anyway. (You can click on it to make it bigger.)
Our patron holds many gifts for us, and we would be wise to pay more attention to him. Gives of ministry, gifts of service, gifts of a place for God’s people to gather, centered around the Eucharistic table. What we receive at that table, like St. Edward and countless others before us, gives us the nourishment we need to go out and minister in the name of Christ.
The king who was our patron, just as the King who is our Christ, never does as the king pleases in the end. The king does what God calls us all to do. May we find the ongoing inspiration to live more deeply into the mission and ministry of our church, with some help from our patron, today and always.
(If you have an interest in a ministry and if you did not get to stop by the ministry fair this weekend, please contact Mary Ann Sekellick in the parish office for more information. We would also ask you to remember to pray with the prayer cards that we have distributed, so that we may pray as one body in Christ, discerning and committing ourselves to the future of this Roman Catholic Community in Clifton Park. Thank you and God bless you!)